China, Russia say UNSC meeting on Iran protests defies United Nations charter

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A United Nations Security Council meeting on Friday to discuss the protests turned into criticism of the United States for requesting to meet on what some member states said was an internal issue for Iran.

But Russia and Iran complained the protests were a domestic matter and had no place being discussed at a council focused on worldwide security.

Khoshroo also said the US had abused its power as a permanent member of the Security Council by calling for a meeting to discuss the protests.

The US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, argued that the Iranian protests - first against and later for authorities in Tehran - could escalate into a full-blown conflict, drawing parallels with Syria.

"And I call on the government of Iran to stop censoring the voice of the people and to restore the access to the internet".

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Heated debate took place on the floor of the Security Council at the United Nations headquarters in NY after its 15 members were gathered at the request of the USA to discuss the current situation in Iran.

"The United States is abusing the platform of the Security Council", said Russian Ambassador Nebenzia.

Haley, who did not mention the nuclear accord Friday, focused her remarks on the protests that have killed at least 21 people and led to hundreds of arrests.

Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi said that 70 of the detained protesters have been released on bail during the last 48 hours.

The rallies are meant to be a show of force against anti-government protests that broke out in Mashhad, Iran's second largest city, on December 28 and have since spread to several other cities and towns.

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U.S. President Donald Trump and members of his administration have praised the anti-government demonstrators as people standing up to a repressive and corrupt regime that is trying to silence them. In addition, the Iranian embassy in London, England, filed a grievance with Ofcom a regulations broadcast entity, accusing them that one of their UK-based Farsi-language based channels had been encouraging the Iranian protests. "It is a powerful exhibition of courageous people who have become so fed up with their oppressive government that they are willing to risk their lives in protest". Authorities have said the protests are waning. She added that it would be "telling if any country tries to deny the Security Council from even having this discussion".

"The situation is not an issue that belongs on the agenda of the Security Council", the representative from Bolivia said, saying it will "run the risk of the Security Council becoming a political tool exploited for each member's ends".

The anti-government demonstrations first broke out in Mashhad, Iran's second-largest city, on Dec 28 and later spread to several other cities and towns.

"We are also very concerned at reports that the Government has blocked the internet on mobile networks, and that social media services like Instagram and messaging services like Telegram have been shut down in an attempt to quell the protests", they said.

After taking office a year ago, Trump refused this past fall to certify Iran's compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal that lifted some sanctions in return for Iran curbing its nuclear program. The Iranian government has been accused of funding several militia around the world to prove their military existence in the region instead of using this money to help the Iranian people.

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